Last night, the Pistons, Clippers, Hawks and others got impressive wins while the Knicks choked late.
Sixers 94, Nets 130
This game was all about Joe Johnson’s third quarter. The Nets led by 10 at the break, but dropped 42 in the third, twenty-nine of which came from Johnson. He connected on 7 treys in the period, and finished with 37 (10/14 from deep).
Deron Williams double-doubled with 13 and 13, and is starting to really play like the Deron we’ve all been waiting for. Andray Blatche added 20 and 5 boards in 25 minutes with Brook Lopez sidelined. The one-year, $1.4 million pact he signed over the summer is looking like one of the offseason’s top bargains.
James Anderson led Philly with 17 off the bench. Thaddeus Young added 14 and Tony Wroten scored 13.
Pistons 101, Pacers 96
Detroit led for the entire fourth quarter, and held off a Pacers push in the final minute last night. Josh Smith led the way with 30 points (13/29) in the upset W. Greg Monroe double-doubled with 13 and 12, Brandon Jennings scored 18 and Josh Harrellson snagged 10 rebounds (5 offensive) in 16 huge reserve minutes.
Detroit’s 55-40 edge on the glass was key, as despite poor shooting numbers (43-35-64), they were able to fire off more shots from the floor and from the line than Indy.
Lance Stephenson scored a career-high 23 for the Pacers in the loss. Luis Scola added 18 off the bench, but Paul George and Roy Hibbert were only a combined 6/26 from the field.
Lakers 100, Hawks 114
This one was a classic tale of two halves, as the Lakers lead at the break only to get smoked in the final two quarters.
Six players scored in double-figures for Atlanta, including Al Horford (19 and 11) and Jeff Teague (17 and 10).
Kobe couldn’t get anything going for the Lake Show, hitting just 4/14 shots for 8 points in 32 minutes. Pau Gasol went for 16 and 10, while Nick Young (23) and Jordan Hill (21) were the team’s leading scorers. This is one funky team.
Timberwolves 97, Celtics 101
I’m bummed out about the T-Wolves. They started 3-0 with wins against Orlando, OKC and New York (at MSG), and have since gone 9-13. Early on I thought they’d challenge Portland for the West’s most improved squad, but they’ve lost their mojo in the last month or so (while Portland has established itself as a powerhouse).
That’s not to take anything away from Boston—last night, Jared Sullinger went off for 24 and 11 against a strong front line, Avery Bradley scored 19 and Jordan Crawford added 15. Boston’s been hovering around .500 all season—they show up every night and play 10 or 11 solid guys . It’s a surprisingly fun team to watch.
Minnesota got 27 and 14 from Kevin Love, but nobody else got it going. Ricky Rubio shot 2/12 and the team as a whole shot just under 38 percent from the field.
Jazz 94, Heat 117
Utah actually led by three at the break in Miami on Monday night, but naturally the Heat turned on the jets in the second half.
LeBron led the way with 30 points (13/17), 9 assists and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Wade added 27 (9/14, 9/10 FT), and Chris Bosh scored 20 (8/13)—exactly how they drew it up.
Alec Burks was the game’s high-scorer with 31 (12/17). Derrick Favors scored 17 with 7 rebounds.
Wizards 102, Knicks 101
The Knicks trailed 92-85 with 6 minutes left at home last night before erupting for a 13-2 go-ahead run. Unfortunately, the team scored just three points in the final 2:16, allowing the Wiz to grab a lead behind Bradley Beal, who scored the team’s final eight points.
The final 25 seconds were just a disaster for the Knicks. The sequence: (1) Beno Udrih missed a big free throw; (2) Complete NY defensive lapse against Beal for a go-ahead hoop; (3) An unbelievably horrible final Knicks’ possession, where some of the players seemed like they thought the Mike Woodson called a timeout in the waning seconds.
Beal finished with 21 in his return to the lineup, but it was Martell Webster who led the team with 30 points and 6 treys. John Wall added 20 points, 8 dimes and 6 boards in the win.
The Knicks did Knicks stuff… Carmelo Anthony scored 32, Andrea Bargnani was 4/12 from the field, JR Smith needed 16 shots to score 18 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. played really well but saw 15 fewer minutes than Smith, Iman Shumpert was invisible on offense, Amar’e Stoudemire did nothing (1/7) in 19 minutes and so on and so forth. You get the idea.
Magic 83, Bulls 82
This was a tight game, but it wasn’t quite as close as the score suggests. Orlando was held to three points in the final 3:45 but somehow maintained a lead the entire time, and a Mike Dunleavy half-court heave at the buzzer cut the final deficit to just a point.
Arron Afflalo hit 8/14 shots on his way to 23 points for Orlando. Glen Davis added 14 and 11, Nik Vucevic went for 10 and 11 and Jameer Nelson scored 14 with 7 assists.
The Bulls got 26 from Luol Deng, but Jimmy Butler (1/11), Carlos Boozer (3/10), Marquis Teague (0/3) and Taj Gibson (1/7) all struggled. Teague started but failed to record a single stat in 17 minutes.
Spurs 92, Clippers 115
Lob City just pulled away from the Spurs in the final 17 minutes last night. Chris Paul dropped 23 points, 7 dimes, 8 boards and 4 steals, Blake Griffin added 27 and 9 and Jamal Crawford scored 17 in the win. LA hit 51 percent of their shots and 11/23 from deep.
The Spurs got 17 and 11 from Tim Duncan and 16 from Manu Ginobili, but it was a rare poor defensive game for San Antonio. Tony Parker left early with a bruised shin and is questionable in the Spurs’ upcoming game against Phoenix.
Bonus: Vintage Show Of The Day
This season, I’ll be posting a semi-random highlight video of a former baller at the bottom of my Post Ups. Enjoy ‘Nique’s Top 10 jams. (I like #1 the most, though #3 is right there with it.)